Proposed fee of $500 per meeting for community representatives on shire IHAP

Development applications for projects up to $30 million will be determined by the planning panel or council staff. Picture: John Veage
Development applications for projects up to $30 million will be determined by the planning panel or council staff. Picture: John Veage

A pool of 10 community representatives is proposed for the panel that will decide contentious development applications (DAs) in Sutherland Shire.

One representative will be chosen for each meeting, and it is recommended they be paid a fee of $500.

From March 1 next year, every council in NSW will need to have an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP).

IHAP meeting.  Picture: supplied

IHAP meeting. Picture: supplied

New members will be appointed in cases, such as as Sutherland, where there is an existing IHAP.

The panel will comprise a state government appointed chair, two technical experts drawn from a pre-approved pool and one community representative. 

Decisions on DAs up to a value of $30 million will be made by the panel, or by council staff if they are minor or straight-forward.

The regional Sydney South Planning Panel will determine higher-value DAs.

Department of Planning and Environment guidelines on recruiting community representatives recommend one person from each ward be recruited.

A Sutherland Shire Council staff report to the planning committee recommended a pool comprising one representative and alternate for each of the five wards.

A flat rate fee of $500 per meeting was recommended.

The department’s other guidelines, which the report said were “reasonable”, include the community representative:

  • Be a resident of the LGA (logal government area).
  • Have knowledge of the LGA and issues of concern to the local community.
  • Be able to represent and communicate the interests of the local community;
  • Have an understanding of the planning process and assessment issues.
  • Commit to attending the IHAP meetings and contributing constructively to the determination of applications.
  • Be willing to adhere to the IHAP code of conduct and operational procedures.

The report said recruitment would need to take place soon to allow arrangements to be in place for the March 1 starting date.

It said advertising for candidates should be made through the Leader and the council’s website and Facebook page as a minimum.

The report and planning committee’s views are due to be considered at the council meeting on November 20.